My Favorite Christmas Tradition

Simple traditions are the ones I love best. They stand the test of time. No matter how hectic the holiday season becomes, they still endure.

We started one of those simple traditions about five or six years ago. All you need are four candles and voices joined together in song. I’m so excited to share with you about the Advent Wreath.* wreathEvery evening during the Christmas season, we gather the family before bedtime.  We light candles, and we sing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”

The first week of Advent, we light one candle sing the first verse of the carol. The second week, two candles and two verses…. etc… all the way through the fourth week.

There is always a flurry of activity about finding the matches, and whose turn it is to light the candle, and turning off all the lights, but then– the candle is lit. A hush falls. We pause from the craziness of the day. All eyes are drawn to the simple, beautiful flame. Daddy sometimes makes a short comment about the meaning of Christmas, what Advent is, or how thankful we are for Jesus, our Emmanuel.  singing1Even the littlest ones learn the words. All the voices sing. It’s a peaceful and hushed time when the True Meaning of Christmas shines through without any distraction. (Maybe I should say “hardly any” distraction. Of course the baby wants to climb on the table during the singing, and all that sort of thing.)

We sing about how Emmanuel came. After all the centuries of waiting, He came. His light broke through the darkness. God’s thoughts and His ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9). He hardly ever does things the way that we expect. But, we know that His promises are sure. His light always pierces the darkness in His perfect time.

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*I know that, in the more liturgical churches, there are specifics for how the Advent Wreath tradition should be done.  We don’t necessarily follow those specifics. For us, this is just about the concept of anticipating Christmas and remembering the first Advent of Jesus Christ.